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Useful And Fantastic: A Female History Of Sex

"Nature made food and sex pleasurable, to ensure eating and reproduction,'' declares Val Yule.

The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution Faramerz Dabhoiwala . Allen Lane, £25, 484pp http://books.telegraph.co.uk/BerteShopWeb/viewProduct.do?ISBN=9781846144929

The account of this book on a supposed Sexual Revolution given in ABC Radio National's Late Night Live makes it very much a male ‘Origins of Sex’ and cherry-picking at that. (The book itself I have not read. It may go further, but other reviews suggest not.)

A female Origins of Sex down the ages would have put reproduction as the key, far beyond pleasure.

Until the pill and State aid for single mothers, reproductiom as the result of sex was the reason for most of our sexual attitudes. It was the reason for religious and social norms, celibacy and monasticism in many countries, approval of homosexuality as an alternative to heterosexual sex, requirements of female virginity, abortion, infanticide, and the horrible contraceptives often tried.

Families threw out pregnant daughters because they did not want the burden of rearing the children. Various religious and social ideas were a consequence of reproduction and got some strange manifestations. The popular ballads and music-hall themes of women with unwanted babies, and the Poor Little Mill Girl on rich and poor inequalities are important data, along with Farmerz Dabhoiwala’s upper-class quotes.

Ancient Greece, Rome, and other countries had ideas similar to The Sexual Revolution, along with all sorts of other ideas.
(And why did the Bennetts want Lydia to marry the unsuitable Wickham?)

Nature made food and sex pleasurable, to ensure eating and reproduction. Men’s fatherhood was made valuable by social norms.


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